Standing Beside

One night after a 7 Habits class John came up very close to and said, “We only want two things – to know someone cares and a second chance. You people who come here do that.”

Mother Teresa says that what is wrong with our world is that we have just “forgotten that we belong to each other.” Gregory Boyle in his book Tattoos on the Heart tells through the stories of the young gang members in South LA that he has ministered to for over 30 years how they have shown him what he calls the power of kinship. The closer we stand to God, the more we become like him. Similarly, the closer we stand with each other the less daylight there is between us and the more we understand each other better and love each other. As we breathe in the fullness of God, we can then breathe it out on each other. Some describe that is what heaven is like.

Jesus said that he came to speak “the good news to the poor”, give “sight to the blind” and “liberty to captives.” He did that by standing close to the least and lost and showing his kinship with us.

That is what the over 700 volunteers do every year as they visit, listen to, and care about the men and women at the prison and jail. What they have breathed in, they are breathing out. At this time of year as we are celebrating the coming of the Christ child, let us remember and resolve to stay close to each other, especially with those society has forgotten. In showing that you care and giving another a second chance, you’ll gain a glimpse of heaven and maybe even your own second chance.

Robert Esleeck, Program Director, Transition 2 Work Program

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